Tonawanda police remind residents it’s a crime to steal someone’s political signs after uptick in thefts

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(WIVB) – Neighbors all across Western New York are not playing nice when it comes to people’s political views. There’s been an uptick in the number of political yard signs being stolen or vandalized.

“In these politically charged times that we live in I think people are losing sight of the fact that it’s not just disrespectful to others and their differences of opinion it’s also a criminal offense,” said Town of Tonawanda Police Chief Nicholas Bado.

Bado tells News 4 the town has received nine complaints over political signs being stolen or vandalized in the last two months. He’s reminding people that if you’re caught doing that you could pay an up to $1,000 fine or face up to a year behind bars.

“Those are crimes, you will be held accountable by those if you are caught,” he said.

Even with the consequences people are still taking and in same cases destroying signs. Alexis from Tonawanda, on several occasions, caught people stealing her sign that shows support for President Donald Trump.

“I think people think that if they take our signs, we’re not going to put more out but that’s not going to stop me,” she said. “You’re only going to make me do it more. A lot of people put their signs in their windows but I’m not doing that I should be able to put whatever I want on my property. It’s my house.”

That’s also how Town of Boston resident Bill Donovan feels.

“Just because mine differs from your doesn’t give you the right to walk on my property and steal my property,” he said.

Donovan had a Joe Biden sign on his property and with three days it was gone.

“We’re all Americans,” he said. It’s shameful that people think that just because my opinion is different than yours that they should try and eliminate my feelings or my opinion. So yes, I’m not happy about it.”

Viewers from Buffalo, Lancaster, Orchard Park and Niagara County have also reached out to News 4 saying their signs are being stolen or vandalized.

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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